RNA Biology

In addition to protein-coding mRNAs, genomes produce a wide variety of non-coding RNAs, which function in a vast array of cellular processes, including all aspects of gene expression and its regulation. The study of RNA Biology focuses on understanding the mechanisms of RNA interference, a form of sequence-specific gene silencing triggered by double-stranded RNA, functions of microRNAs that control timing of organism development, RNA splicing mechanisms and noncoding RNA actions, mRNA translational control, and the role of piRNAs in maintenance of germline integrity. Recent discoveries on the role of RNA in gene editing, including mechanisms of CRISPR, are also proceeding at a rapid pace. RNA biologists in Molecular Medicine have made striking discoveries in novel types of RNA and their mechanisms of action, and are investigating the role of RNAs in a variety of human diseases such as cancers, diabetes, autism and Fragile X.

Ambros Lab
We study gene regulatory mechanisms controlling the timing of animal development, using the C. elegans model system. Developmental timing regulators in C. elegans include microRNAs that control the stage-specific expression of key transcription factors. We aim to understand the molecular mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation by microRNAs, and how microRNAs function in regulatory networks affecting development and disease. (Ambros profile)

Czech Lab
Our laboratory develops nanoparticles composed of siRNA or CRISPR components for gene silencing and editing in order to discover novel cell signaling pathways related to cancer, diabetes and obesity. We are also interested in advancing these RNA technologies towards therapeutics for these diseases.   (Czech profile)

Davis Lab
The cJun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signal transduction pathway is implicated in several stress-related disease processes including cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and stroke. Our hope is that drugs targeting the JNK pathway may be useful for the treatment of these diseases. The goal of this laboratory is to understand the molecular processes that are engaged by JNK in both health and disease.  (Davis profile)

Garber Lab
Manuel Garber, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicine and bioinformatics and integrative biology, and director of the Bioinformatics Core. Dr. Garber’s  methods have been critical to the discovery and characterization of a novel set of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) and to our understanding of the immune transcriptional response to pathogens. In September 2012, Dr. Garber moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School to establish his laboratory and direct the Bioinformatics core.  (Garber profile)

Khvorova Lab
Develop and characterize novel RNA chemistries to promote efficient oligonucleotide internalization and tissue distribution.  (Khvorova profile)

Mello Lab
Our lab uses the nematode worm C. elegans as a model organism to investigate how embryonic cells differentiate and communicate during development. In addition, we are investigating the mechanism of RNA interference, a form of sequence-specific gene silencing triggered by double-stranded RNA.  (Mello profile)

Richter Lab
Our lab studies the biochemistry of post-transcriptional gene expression, particularly cytoplasmic polyadenylation and translational control. We also examine how these processes influence early animal development, cell division and cellular senescence, and neuronal synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation.  (Richter profile)

Sontheimer Lab
Biology and mechanism of RNA-based gene regulation; CRISPR interference; RNA-directed genome editing and gene control.  (Sontheimer profile)

Theurkauf Lab
Work in the lab addresses RNA localization and embryonic patterning, the response of mitotic cells to DNA damage, and small RNA function in germline development. Studies combine high resolution imaging, genetic, and molecular approaches in Drosophila and mammalian cultured cell systems. (Theurkauf profile)